Vincent M. Albanese, co-founder of Albanese Organization Inc., the privately owned developer behind the Wyandanch Village development, died May 26 in Manhasset. He was 91.
Albanese, a Queens native, launched the Garden City-based real estate business with his brother, the late Anthony A. Albanese, in 1949, starting with the construction of a single home in South Ozone Park, Queens. The company now has 50 employees and has developed over 5 million square feet of real estate — mostly residential and office space — across the metropolitan region.
“He was a true Horatio Alger story,” said Christopher V. Albanese of Port Washington, president of the Albanese Organization and Vincent’s middle child. “He grew up in the Depression, and his father passed way when he was 8 or 9.”
Albanese, who grew up in Ozone Park, was one of five children raised by a widow living on welfare, Christopher said. From a young age Albanese worked odd jobs — delivering newspapers and selling fruit — to help support his mother and siblings.
As a young adult, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy in World War II. During his service he attended and graduated from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. His older brother, also in the military, died in the Pacific.
After Wesleyan, Albanese took night classes and graduated from St. John’s University School of Law in Jamaica, Queens. The same year he co-founded the Albanese Organization he also launched Albanese & Albanese LLP, a general counsel law firm with his brother Joseph.
Frank Castagna, owner of Manhasset-based Castagna Realty Co., said Albanese was a “very, very astute businessman.” Castagna met Albanese more than 40 years ago and partnered with the developer on a number of projects in Garden City.
Albanese was also a good negotiator, Castagna said of his longtime friend and fellow golfer.
Some of the company’s higher profile projects include the 293-unit Solaire in Battery Park City in Manhattan, the country's first green certified residential high rise; the Wyndham at Garden City, a 316-unit condo development; the 52-story, 500,000-square-foot condominium at 100 United Nations Plaza in Manhattan; and the ongoing development of Wyandanch Village, a $500 million, 40-acre mixed-income transit-oriented community.
Besides his son Christopher, Albanese is survived by his wife of 57 years, Niki; a daughter, Marisa, of Manhasset; and sons James of Glen Head and Anthony of Manhattan. He was predeceased by his daughter Kathryn.
The Albanese family held a visitation Tuesday at Fairchild Sons Funeral Chapel in Manhasset and a funeral service Wednesday at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock in Manhasset.